European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 319–328 | Cite as

Factors associated with the emotional health of children: high family income as a protective factor

  • Janine Herrmann
  • M. Vogel
  • D. Pietzner
  • E. Kroll
  • O. Wagner
  • S. Schwarz
  • E. Müller
  • W. Kiess
  • M. Richter
  • T. Poulain
Original Contribution


Anxiety and depressive symptoms have adverse effects on children’s development. The present study investigates the associations of socioeconomic factors as well as maternal emotional health with children’s emotional health status. The data were collected between 2011 and 2015 in the LIFE Child study, a population-based cohort study in Leipzig, Germany. The emotional health status of 1093 children (2.5–11.9 years old) was investigated using the subscale ‘emotional problems’ of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Associations of maternal emotional health, family status, and socioeconomic status (SES) with the emotional health status of children were estimated via regression analyses. 21.13% of the participating children were assigned to the ‘risk’ group for emotional problems. The results furthermore revealed that children of mothers reporting more depressive symptoms, children living in single-parent families, and children of families with lower SES scored higher in the emotional problems scale. When considering the different indicators of SES (parental education, occupational status, and monthly net income) separately, only income showed significant associations with children’s emotional health status. The prevalence of emotional problems in children in Leipzig, a city in East Germany, appears to be higher than the previously reported German average. Maternal depressive symptoms, single-parent families, lower SES, and especially lower income can be seen as risk factors for children’s emotional health.


Children Emotional problems SDQ Socioeconomic status Maternal emotional health 



This publication is supported by LIFE—Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, University of Leipzig. LIFE is funded by the European Union, by means of the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and the Free State of Saxony within the framework of the State Initiative for Excellence.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants are in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments—or comparable ethical standards. All participants gave a written declaration of consent. The study outline was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Leipzig (Reg. No. 264-10-19042010). The LIFE Child study has been registered with the trial number: NCT02550236.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janine Herrmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Vogel
    • 2
  • D. Pietzner
    • 2
  • E. Kroll
    • 3
  • O. Wagner
    • 2
  • S. Schwarz
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. Müller
    • 1
    • 2
  • W. Kiess
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Richter
    • 4
  • T. Poulain
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Women and Children’s Health, Hospital for Children and Adolescents and Center for Pediatric Research (CPL)University of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.LIFE Leipzig Research Center for Civilization DiseasesUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Berlin Social Science Center, PhD College ‘Good Work’BerlinGermany
  4. 4.Medical Faculty, Institute of Medical Sociology (IMS)Martin-Luther-University Halle-WittenbergHalle (Saale)Germany

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